17 March 2011

Nvidia Kernel 266.58

For a good long while I'd been having video problems with my PC desktop. The monitor would freeze, go black for a second, and pop back up with the error message, "Nvidia kernel 266.58 stopped responding and has recovered," or words to that effect.

There never seemed to be a specific reason for it -- I'd just be surfing the internet, reading the news, and I'd get the identical crash and error message several times in a 30 minute span, regardless of website, not watching videos or playing games. It even happened when I was simply working in Excel or Word.

When it first happened I tried "rolling back" to the previous driver version via Device Manager, but it didn't help. At the time I gave up and decided to live with it... until a couple days ago.

Here's how I fixed this issue, on a Windows 7 32-bit desktop with a Nvidia 7650GS graphics card:

  1. Downloaded latest driver for my graphics card (which still happened to be 266.58) from the Nvidia website.
  2. Used "add/remove programs" in the Control Panel to uninstall Nvidia driver.  Do not use the "roll back" feature in device manager.
  3. Restart computer.
  4. Used ccleaner (free software) to clean up the registry (this step might have been superfluous but I did it, anyway).
  5. Installed newly downloaded Nvidia driver from (1).
  6. Restarted computer.

To date (knock on wood) following the above steps has completely stopped my monitor from crashing.

UPDATE:  Ugh.  Looks like the above "fix" wasn't successful.  The same error message started reappearing a week or so ago.  It does seem to occur less frequently than before, but perhaps it's only a matter of time.

UPDATE 2:  I think I've finally found the root cause of my video troubles.  More information in this post.